Make Your Own Wooden Diving Goggles (Sep, 1940)

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SOUTH-SEA Diving Goggles

By HI SIBLEY

These fine goggles were made by a Hawaiian. Experts consider this type more satisfactory for serious diving and continuous use than the ordinary rubber variety

WITH a little care and patience, you can construct diving goggles exactly like those used by the spear fishermen of the South Seas and expert Hawaiian divers.

Any nonporous hardwood not likely to split may be used, but it must be thoroughly seasoned. The goggles shown in the photographs were carved from “hau” (pronounced “how”), a wood available in Hawaii. Cut two blocks 2″ by 2″ by 2-1/2″, and bevel the front surface of each on an angle of about 8 deg. Then bore and file out the openings as shown. Carve a rabbet or seat for the lenses, which are plain plate glass about 1/8″ thick. Any glazier will cut these for you. In making the seat, try to get as perfect a fit as possible. By coating the lens with lampblack and pressing down on the seat, high spots will be revealed. Do not mount the lenses until the outside of the wood is shaped to its final form, and the small brass eyes for the cord have been inserted in their holes and clinched inside. Apply shellac on the lens seat, then a thin layer of plastic composition wood. Press down with the lens to smooth the paste. Remove the lens, apply shellac, then set the lens permanently. Clamp or put weights on the lens to hold it firmly until the shellac dries. Finally, apply composition wood around the edges on top, as shown. If small, shallow holes are first drilled around the inside, they will serve to anchor the plastic material more firmly.

The rim that fits around the eye should be beveled carefully so that the pressure will be equal all around. The flesh will yield enough, if the wood is properly fitted, to form a watertight joint. Give the wood two or three coats of shellac all over.

To prevent fogging in use, soak the goggles in water of the same temperature as that in which they are to be used. Wet the skin around the eyes and press the goggles on to create a partial vacuum inside. This will make the eyes feel a bit queer, but does not hurt. The proper spacing of the two members can be determined by experiment.

4 comments
  1. MAKE: Blog says: September 7, 200610:55 am

    HOW TO – Make wooden diving goggles…

    Diving goggles from Popular Science 1940 – “These fine goggles were made by a Hawaiian. Experts consider this type more satisfactory for serious diving and continuous use than the ordinary rubber variety. With a little care and patience, you……

  2. Stannous says: September 7, 200611:07 am

    Whew! a LOT of work to make something that won’t last in salt water and will be almost impossible to make water-tight around the eyes.
    Rubber goggles were available starting in the 1920′s.

  3. Stannous says: September 7, 200611:11 am

    I love the radiator hose golf balls:
    “may be used for practicing hitting…with all clubs except the putter.”

    And I have seen the wood block/wedge clamps used in a boat shop, they still work and are easier to adjust than screw C clamps.

  4. [...] The often amusing and sometimes educational Modern Mechanix page has a scan of a 1940’s issue of Popular Science, where they tell you how to make your own wooden diving goggles. “Experts consider this type more satisfactory for serious diving and continuous use than the ordinary rubber variety.” [...]

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